Wicker Park as a Public Space
A walk through Chicago can’t be pinned down to any specific emotion. The city is too big, too diverse. A walk through lincoln park to me is very soothing, same with a walk through Pilsen, even some places in the Loop. But I would have to argue that a walk through South side or Wicker Park is a little less soothing and a little more stressful. Why is this?
This is because we have preconceptions about the spaces we are walking in a lot of the time, so one associates the South side with violence more so than in Lincoln Park and that causes our mindset to be a little more on edge when we walk in Southside.
Walking is also dependent on time. Walking at noon on a Sunday in Lincoln Park is a lot more soothing than a walk in Lincoln Park at midnight, and there have been times where I will be walking very late at night or early in the morning and feel scared for my safety and belongings. It is all a matter of circumstances when it comes to walking, and that is how much of life is.
I stopped my walking today at Wicker Park. An area I was very unfamiliar with. My field notes are as follows:
6:38 PM a car honks and people begin to yell back at it.
6:42 PM homeless people are yelling loudly at eachother.
6:43 PM a baby is screeching somewhere behind where I sit.
6:47 PM a skateboarder ollies near the fountain
6:53 PM a man playing basketball is hitting on a girl across the park
Two homeless men sit on a bench next to my bench, conversing very politely and calmly, as if they had been friends for a lifetime. One wears a bulls jacket that is black with a red stripe, and the other is wearing a brown polo shirt. The one in the polo is shuffling a deck of cards in his right hand, very smoothly.
Another homeless man sits at a bench across the fountain from my bench, and he is sitting quietly, just petting his dog. The man has a scruffy grey beard, missing teeth, and is wearing an adidas jumpsuit. I’m not very good at dogs, but it looks like a mutt but looks happy, which is what matters.
The only other people at the park with me tonight as I noted was about 8 men playing a game of pickup full court on the basketball court near the fountain.